Is your kitchen often filled with family and friends? They may be bringing in unwanted visitors like dirt and bacteria. Maintaining a clean kitchen is one way to help keep everyone healthy and avoid spreading food-related illness.
Scrub A Dub Dub
Wash countertops and sinks often, especially after handling raw meat. Scrub dishes, cutting boards, and utensils with hot, soapy water. And don’t forget to wash your hands. The extra care is worth it!
Use paper towels or a clean, dry cloth to dry your dishes. And never use the same towel to dry up after wiping your counter.
Wash Your Produce
You don’t need to buy special cleansers to keep a healthy kitchen. But do rinse fruits and veggies under water to remove dirt, and scrub when necessary. Rinse meats and poultry before cooking, too.
Separate Raw And Cooked Foods
Whether you’re defrosting, marinating or prepping, raw meat should always be kept away from other foods. It’s especially important to clean the cutting board used to prepare raw meat before you put cooked food on it.
Avoid Raw Eggs
Check shells before buying to make sure there are no cracks. Even then, there’s still a chance of contamination, so cook eggs thoroughly before eating. And no tasting that tempting raw cookie dough!
It’s always best to defrost poultry, meat and seafood in the fridge to keep them at a safe temperature below 40ºF. The USDA warns against running meat under hot water or leaving it on the counter. If you’re pressed for time, thaw in the microwave or submerge an airtight bag in cold water. Just be sure to cook defrosted foods right away.
Be Careful With Marinades
Marinades are a great way to add flavor and tenderness, but do it in the fridge. If you want to use leftover marinade for a sauce or gravy, make sure to boil it before adding other ingredients.
Know When It’s Done
You can’t always tell by looking, so use a meat thermometer to be sure. The USDA recommends cooking beef, pork and lamb to 145ºF. Ground meat should be cooked to 160ºF and the minimum for poultry is 165ºF. Use the 1/10 rule for fish: Ten minutes total cooking time for every 1”, measured at its thickest part.
Put perishables away after two hours, an hour in hot weather. And when storing leftovers, keep your fridge between 40ºF and 32ºF, and your freezer at 0ºF.